Learning Finance Early On | NBC Southern California

Learning Finance Early On

Junior Achievement of Southern California is teaching budgets and more.

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    Lincoln Barbour
    Young people are getting a headstart on financial know-how via Junior Achievement of Southern California. The JA Finance Park is located next to Griffith Park.

    What was your finance education in school? 

    We're talking prior to college. Did you an in-depth tutorial on how to balance a budget and how exactly credit (and debt) works? What about learning how to deal with day-to-day money usage and bills and covering basic living and housing?

    Many people would probably say they wish they'd spent more time on this as a high-schooler or even a middle-schooler; figure that teens regularly take on jobs and incomes at a fairly early age, and many get a credit card before high school graduation. With this in mind, Junior Achievement of Southern California is looking to assist 7th to 12th graders on the road to better financial understanding through the JA Finance Park which sits next to Griffith Park.

    It's billed as a "financial literacy laboratory." That even sounds cool.

    This is not a traditional classroom; rather, the JA Finance Park offers a "mock city" where students can interact with car dealerships, banks, and the types of places where adults regularly find themselves doing financial transactions. An emphasis is placed on utilities, too, and purchase power.

    Nearly 100,000 kids went through the program last year.

    But the finance park isn't ultimately about getting kids to watch when their gas bill is due. One of the main themes is helping kids consider what item might be a want and what might be a need.

    That's a good thing to know, for everyone.

    And in-school financial education has certainly come quite an impressive way over the years, but, considering that finance management remains a hot topic throughout adulthood, it has to be a wise thing to give young people lots of know-how from the get-go.

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